Patient retention is the goal of every health care professional. Making yourself available to them online is a great way to build rapport and guide them to seek you out for help.
A major part of any online strategy for medical practices is to create a presence that attracts new patients. The problem with that is, focusing so heavily on one aspect of an online strategy usually means that others suffer as a result. One of the most common areas that gets overlooked is maintaining and building up relationships with existing patients.
Wooing new patients has its place and it is important. However, the time, effort and associated resources it takes to attract new patients is far greater than what it takes to retain current ones. In fact, the worst case scenario is that if existing patients are neglected too much in the pursuit of new ones, the new patients are suddenly a necessity rather than a nice addition.
What makes for strong patient retention is exceeding their expectations. Going above and beyond demonstrates that you value your patients. The way you do this is by making sure all the details are tended to. Keep your waiting are clean comfortable. Use a live receptionist to handle incoming calls rather than a machine as so many opt for today. Be available for your patients, not just in the office, but online as well.
Here are 5 strategies to help you retain your patients:
Build an efficient follow-up process
One of the keys to exceeding expectations and retaining patients is having an efficient and patient-friendly follow-up process. This is especially important after a patient’s initial visit. Following up in a timely manner shows that your practice cares about their wellbeing. It is best if the physician who saw the patient can contact them by phone, but that isn’t always possible. At the least, a follow-up email should be sent. The main thing is you maintain contact!
Use a quick, easy scheduling system
Ideally, patients should have multiple ways to make appointments with your practice. Scheduling a follow-up in the office after their current appointment is the most popular method. There are others who prefer to do so over the phone or via email. Scheduling on your website is also a method gaining popularity. The goal is to provide as may easy options as possible for patients to setup a return visit.
Be active on social media
As long as you know what you are doing and you pay careful attention, social media is an amazing way to stay connected to your patients. It’s not just about what you share, it’s about giving patients a place to contact you. Simple interactions such as a happy birthday note to their timeline. This is how you show patients you are available for them and you are paying attention to them.
Set up an email list & online newsletter
Email lists are easy to build – just ask for patient’s email addresses when they are checking in at your office. Making good use of them is a whole other issue. The most popular thing to do with them is to use them as a delivery system for your online newsletter. Fill it with reminders, healthy living tips, ad snippets that allow your patients to get to know you better. If you do go this route, be consistent and deliver your newsletter on a regular schedule.
Once your patients see that you are serious about being there for them, they are more likely to stick with you and not going off to find someone else. Just like any relationship, the doctor/patient one is worth working on!